It is a hardy bird that loves to forage, so they are happiest when free range. Unfortunately fertility has suffered over the years, a hatch rate of 50% is considered good; some breeders however say that their hatch rate is far higher. The small gene pool means that fertility levels are always likely to be an issue. The hens rarely go broody. It is not a fast growing breed but is relatively easy to keep.
- John Wright of Marshside, Southport, Lancashire started the process which eventually led to the creation of the Marsh Daisy in 1880 by crossing an Old English Game bantam x Cinnamon Malay cock with Black Hamburgh x White Leghorn hens.
- Two others joined the project, a Mr Wignell and Charles Moore, who added Sicilian Buttercups to the mix. Marsh Daises were not exhibited until 1920 by this time a breed club had been formed.
- Although liked by smallholders, the breed was not favoured by exhibition breeder larger commercial poultry breeders, resulting in a sharp decline by 1940.
- They were kept going through to the 1970s, when a new generation of poultry conservationists began their revival using old strains which had been kept going by some breeders in Somerset.
- The Marsh Daisy is an active, upright and attractive bird.
- The male head is dominated by an impressive rose comb and striking white ear lobes.
- The main colours are Brown, Buff and Wheaten, much rarer are the Blacks and Whites, although enthusiasts are still working to completely stabilise the 3 main colours.
Did you know?
Both sexes have beautiful rose combs. Unlike ‘single combs’ (the most common variety for example in Legbars) rose combs usually lie flat on the head are covered in round knobbles. Often the comb extends back behind the head.
The Rare Breeds Survival Trust is the leading national charity working to conserve and protect the United Kingdom's rare native breeds of farm animals from extinction. We rely on the support of our members, grants and donations from the public to raise the £700,000 a year needed to maintain our conservation work with rare UK native breeds of farm animals. Visit www.rbst.org.uk to see how you can help.